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Last Month's Top Sellers

1. FEIST - Pleasure
2. TIMBER TIMBRE - Sincerely, Future Pollution
3. KENDRICK LAMAR - Damn
4. FATHER JOHN MISTY - Pure Comedy
5. BOB DYLAN - Triplicate

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FEATURED RELEASES

Saturday
May202017

DO MAKE SAY THINK - Stubborn Persistent Illusions

"Ideas, especially creative ones, can be wild beasts, difficult to wrangle and control. They are born in our thoughts and intentions but ultimately take on lives of their own. Like life itself, this process can be messy, complicated, and fraught, no matter how hard we try to fit it into our neat categorical frameworks. Do Make Say Think make music that captures these phenomena in a sonic vernacular that, on their latest LP, is aimed at interrogating the Stubborn Persistent Illusions we find ourselves embroiled in every day.
 
The nine instrumentals that make up the band's first album in almost as many years are all written in major keys. They have a warmth and earnestness that permeates their complex emotional movements. Their soundscapes seamlessly blend the organic and rustic infrastructures of urban life.
 
...Stubborn Persistent Illusions can seem daunting with its hour-long runtime, but it's a worthy monolith that can be explored on the listener's own terms. These songs don't necessarily need your attention for validation — they have their own agency. Inevitably, they will come home to roost." - Exclaim

Saturday
May202017

FEIST - Pleasure

"...Pleasure gives you the sense that you’re hearing the album being recorded in real-time — a simplicity that is sure to make for a powerful live performance when Feist tours later this year — but there are certain luxuries that can only be captured in the studio, and the album is at its most playful when the outside world leaks into Feist’s own. She’s always enjoyed popping the insular bubble that recording an album provides — think of the chirping birds on “The Park” or the busy nature tableau of Metals closer “Get It Wrong, Get It Right” — but here her use of environment is often accompanied with a winking sense of humor. Two specific instances stick out: the end of “Any Party,” which closes on the faint hum of a party as the hook of lead single “Pleasure” bleeds out of a passing car, and the conclusion of “A Man Is Not His Song,” which fades into a Mastodon sample that serves as a nod to the music landscape’s overbearing masculinity. Both are discursions that provide some levity, and it demonstrates that the real world has no qualms about encroaching on the protective casing that Feist creates for herself.

Still, the album feels largely unmoored from time and expectation. Feist spent much of the six years between albums soul-searching, wondering if she was ever going to play music again, and it’s telling that she found a creative spark in something as distinctive and personal as her singular voice and presence. Metals felt like a pointed reaction to The Reminder’s popularity; The Reminder was, at least in part, a shoot-for-the-stars attempt at mainstream success. But Pleasure is a long look inward, a no-frills depiction of Feist at her rawest, and her personality and compassion are what come through strongest on these songs..." - Stereogum

Tuesday
Apr252017

RON SEXSMITH - The Last Rider

"Ron Sexsmith maintains his melodic consistency on "The Last Rider," 15 pop songs absorbed by the threat of loneliness and ways to avoid it. The St. Catharines native recorded his 13th solo album with his touring band, adding to its ease and intimacy. Sexsmith has said he thought this could be his final recording for some time, but the pleasure of the experience might make him reconsider.

"Dreams Are Bigger" has a singalong chorus worthy of a long-distance dedication — "If your dreams are bigger than your worries, you'll never have to worry about your dreams" — with musical hints of New Orleans, while "Man at the Gate (1913)" was inspired by a postcard purchase and dwells on anonymous lives and connections across the years, also recurring themes in the Sexsmith catalogue...There are no surprises here but don't be distracted by the apparent familiarity of some of the tunes. Sexsmith's range may not be wide but his aim is true." - Hamilton Spectator

Tuesday
Apr252017

GIDON KREMER - Preghiera: Rachmaninov Piano Trios

"It would be very easy for Daniil Trifonov, only just 26 and with the world at his feet, to spend his time in the solo spotlight, so it’s good to hear him playing chamber music. And this is a fascinating disc, bringing together Trifonov with Gidon Kremer – 70 this year – and cellist Giedre˙ Dirvanauskaite˙, one of the founding members of Kremerata Baltica. Kremer has never stopped exploring and in the promo DG video he talks about this being the right time to be immersed in Rachmaninov: ‘Playing his music is like attending a Mass. You enter a spiritual space where every emotion is allowed but the main emotion remains love, which is familiar to everyone.’

The Second Trio sets off with a quiet solemnity, the two string players duetting ardently above the steady tread of the piano. There’s much to thrill here, but still more striking are the moments of stillness and the way the movement unfolds seamlessly. The Maestoso section (4'40"), where the strings launch into driving triplets, is truly compelling but just listen to the way the tempo relaxes again, the high-lying cello melody (6'00") played with great poise by Dirvanauskaite." - Grammophone

Tuesday
Apr252017

VARIOUS - To Love Somebody: Songs of the Bee Gees 1966-70

"Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb always considered themselves to be songwriters first and performers second. Indeed, Barry wrote his first song, ‘Turtle Dove’, at age nine on an acoustic guitar he received for Christmas 1955. After their move to Australia in 1958, the brothers, managed by father Hugh, found plenty of work performing, writing, recording and appearing on TV – opportunities which would have been hard to come by had they remained in the UK. Barry signed his first publishing deal at 15 and supplied songs for Leedon Records’ stable of artists, as well as for the Bee Gees themselves.

Artists from the full spectrum of musical styles have covered the Gibbs’ songs. From US stoner rock bands to more easy listening fare, stopping off at psychedelia, lovers rock, power ballads and classic pop. The top soul singers of the late 60s seemed to be particularly adept at interpreting their numbers. Barry’s guitar playing was basic, often tuning to an open chord and barring with one finger. This lack of chops in conjunction with a simple melody left plenty of space for the soul singers of the day to put their personal stamp on the songs." - Ace Records

Tuesday
Apr252017

SALTLAND - A Common Truth

"When loud, angry, "alternative facts" are consistently demonstrated to trump objectively known realities and threaten the very natural makeup of the world around you, gestures towards the very notion of truth begin to feel revolutionary. For Rebecca Foon, whose environmental and social activism is inseparable from her work as an artist (in ongoing and former musical projects Esmerine, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, the Mile End Ladies String Auxiliary and Fifths of Seven), that's enough to spur action and reflection.
 
Her second solo release as Saltland, A Common Truth, offers meditations on climate change, unfolding in spellbinding passages that entrance with deeply resonating, emotional dispatches on the realities facing the natural world, healing warmth and cosmic awareness. Built primarily from Foon's ethereal vocals and both acoustic and processed cello, that all manifests across the record nebulously, but there's an unmistakable gravity to it that insures it's all operating in the same realm..." - Exclaim

Tuesday
Apr252017

VARIOUS - Manhattan Soul Vol.3

"Over the years, our privileged position of accessing the labels’ tapes has enabled us to make many previously unissued recordings available. This CD alone features an unheard Chips Moman song from Helen Henry, the Shirelles’ take on Luther Dixon’s superb ‘Two Stupid Feet’, songwriter Van McCoy’s own interpretation of the Shirelles’ ‘What’s The Matter Baby’ and an R&B group sound from the Tabs. Earlier vault discoveries from Junior Lewis and Big Maybelle are given their first CD outing.

R&B is also provided by Billy Adams on a hip and raunchy nursery rhyme-themed number and the Soldier Boys, an early 60s doo wop supergroup consisting of Wally Roker from the Heartbeats, Don Covay and John Berry from the Rainbows and Robert Spencer of the Cadillacs. Ex-doo woppers Brenton Wood and Harold Hopkins demonstrate how pop-soul should be sung." - Ace Records

Tuesday
Apr252017

FEELIES - In Between

"In its best moments, In Between sounds both mellow and intense in ways only the Feelies can pull off. That’s helped along by the increased prominence of acoustic guitar compared to Here Before (making the album a kind of spiritual sequel to The Good Earth). Acoustic guitars naturally exude calm, but Mercer and Bill Million imbue them with a sharpness. The quick strums in the pithy “Turn Back Time” and aforementioned swayer “Stay the Course” both soothe and energize. Acoustics even tighten the otherwise placid ballad “Make It Clear.”

Still, the Feelies remain a democratic machine, with each sound snugly complementing the other. They’re masters at weaving their moving parts into a kinetic whole: Take “Gone Gone Gone,” an insta-classic that escalates simple chords into a cycle of tension and release. While Mercer intones open-ended lyrics (“What do you want to know?/What do you want to do?”), the tune peaks when bassist Brenda Sauter redirects the band’s momentum like a ship’s rudder.

All the instrumental symbiosis on In Betweenconnects its songs into an arc. That’s emphasized by how the album begins and ends. On previous records, the Feelies liked to conclude with a cover: the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” on 1988’s Only Life, the Stooges’ “Real Cool Time” on 1991’s Time for a Witness. Here, they cover themselves, reprising the sparse opening title track as a long, dense closing jam. Explicitly framing the album as a cycle is a typically Zen move, suggesting that this evergreen band plans on more trips around the sun." - Pitchfork

Tuesday
Apr252017

HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF - The Navigator

"On their sixth album, Hurray for the Riff Raff have come full circle, ending up where the band’s songwriter, Alynda Segarra, started off. If that sounds like a lacklustre plug for one of the albums of the year, it really shouldn’t be. The Navigator represents a return from years of wandering – or, as Segarra puts it: “I’ve been a hungry ghost,” referencing the far eastern myth of the restless spirit for whom food offerings are left out. The Navigator is billed as a concept album about an alter ego called Navita, but the teenage punk Segarra ran away from the Bronx, New York to ride in boxcars, busking roots music. She lost friends to this high-risk life, eventually creating a community of like-minded musicians in New Orleans. This lineup of Hurray for the Riff Raff reimagined Americana (more feminist, more inclusive) with a pair of wonderful albums – 2012’s Look Out Mama and 2014’s Small Town Heroes – before Segarra moved on, again.

Beautifully produced by Paul Butler and played by a new line-up that features the eloquent guitar of Jordan Hyde and fluid rhythms of drummer Greg Rogove, this is a fusion album that wears its border-busting chops very lightly indeed. Album highlight Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl is a country love song that gradually eases into more aromatic polyrhythms. Entrance, meanwhile, opens the album with a doo-wop group singing a gospel tune. Its most political moment, the stark Pa’lante, has an unexpected middle eight that’s pure Beatles. There’s not a lot you can’t sing along to, whoever you are." The Guardian

Tuesday
Apr252017

VA - Feeling Good

"We Want Sounds is back with Feeling Good, a compilation of rare Spiritual Jazz and Funk grooves culled from legendary Producer Bob Shad’s Mainstream Records. Alice Clark’s cult classic Never Did I Stop Loving You features here alongside many gems uncovered for the first time. Working with titans such as Charlie Parker and Lightnin’ Hopkins in the 40s, founding the EmArcy jazz label in the 50s and discovering Janis Joplin in the 60s, Bob Shad has had an incredible influence. TDrenched in modal Fender Rhodes keys, spiritual sax and flute solos, deep percussions and funky beats, these albums have slowly been rediscovered by a new generation of DJs, hip hop producers and vinyl junkies. Afrique’s classic House of the Rising Funk and its funky wah wah frenzy to Hadley Caliman’s deep jazz Flute ode; From one of Clark Terry’s famous Mumbles (Shad produced the original with Oscar Peterson) to Jack Wilkins’ Red Clay sampled by both A Tribe Called Quest and Chance the Rapper. A Soul Music lover, Shad also excelled in soul divas and produced Ellerine Harding, Maxine Weldon and of course the mighty Alice Clark. Carmen McRae, one of Shad’s long time collaborators, gives a soulful, conga-led version of the classic Feelin’ Good a song made famous by Nina Simone." - Rough Trade

Tuesday
Apr042017

JARVIS COCKER/CHILLY GONZALES - Room 29

"Imagine a piano in a room in the Chateau Marmont, located at the west end of Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Boulevard. What stories might that instrument have been witness to? A musician serenading a lover; the reflected visage of a Hollywood starlet doing lines of cocaine off of the piano’s polished black surface; or the discarded cigarette ash of LA mobsters conducting shady deals. Room 29, a collaborative album from Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales runs with this concept, exploring the debauchery and detachment that occurs within the walls of the famous Sunset Boulevard hotel.

In an attempt to stay true to the concept of a piano telling tales, Room 29 was recorded live with Cocker and Gonzales predominantly performing together without accompaniment. Whilst some tracks do feature additional vocals (such as soprano singer Maud Techa and film historian David Thomson) and instrumentation, this is a rarity, with the focus instead being on the interplay between Cocker’s vocals and Gonzales’ piano. The result is a melancholic, mournful rumination on fading Hollywood glamour, of hangovers filled with regret, broken glass and peeling wallpaper..." The 405

Tuesday
Apr042017

CHARLES HAYWARD/GIGI MASIN - Les Nouvelles Musique De Chambres Vol.2

"Originally released on Belgium’s Sub Rosa label in 1989, Les Nouvelles Musiques De Chambre Volume 2 is a split LP on which Masin’s eight tracks occupy side A and Charles Hayward’s long-form piece (at 21 minutes long), "Thames Water Authority”, occupies side B. Geography may have separated the two artists, who each recorded their pieces in isolation from the other, but there’s a commonality to their approach. Previously, Masin had released the inspired 1986 album Wind, while Hayward’s music had long been influenced by the landscape and society of London and the UK.

For this album, the label challenged the two musicians to write about the waterways of their respective cities, Venice and London. For Masin, that meant describing the human interactions related to the Italian city’s famous landmarks. “Places, faces, memories… that’s what most of the people love to find when they travel to Venice – some kind of magic that’s deep in the city,” he writes in the new liner notes accompanying this new re-release..." Light In The Attic

Saturday
Apr012017

VALERIE JUNE - The Order Of Time

"Tennessee singer-songwriter Valerie June's second full-length album is steeped in old-time country and blues. On opening track "Long Lonely Road," she sings of being taught of "The one way to save your soul," but the songs on The Order of Time offer many paths to enlightenment: love, self-confidence, spirituality and combining all the above.
 
Not to mention music. June seems to take herself seriously as a songwriter, and rightly so; her voice as a songwriter is as sure and distinct as her thickly accented soprano, or the elaborate dreadlocked hairdo that makes her look like a cross between Medusa and Madame de Pompadour. On a track like "Love You Once Made," she's at once mournful and accusatory, feeling the pain of a lost love while uncompromisingly placing the blame. And then she'll write a bluesy, hip-twitching rocker like "Shakedown," which is the kind of song that, if recorded by the likes of Jack White or the Black Keys, would be so popular it'd be inescapable..." - Exclaim

Friday
Mar312017

NICK CAVE - One More Time With Feeling (DVD/Blu-ray)

"...As with life itself, there’s no tidy resolution to be found here—no climactic scene of Cave walking out before a sold-out theater to rip-roar through “From Her To Eternity,” healed at last by the power of music. The closest it comes is letting Cave finally stand up from the piano to conduct his band with just the barest hint of his gunslinger swagger. And like grief, the constant sadness starts to feel repetitive, the elusiveness of a happy denouement frustrating. But anything else wouldn’t have been the truth. One More Time is a complex portrait of a man climbing his way out from tragedy while coming to terms with his own vulnerability—a poignant image, especially in a year where we’ve felt the loss of so many of Cave’s fellow immortals. “They told us our dreams would outlive us / They told us our gods would outlive us, but they lied,” Cave sings near the film’s close, a tune that is as bleak yet beautiful, as heartbreaking yet hopeful as everything that preceded it. Life is not a story, the movie says, but in many ways it is a Nick Cave song." - AV Club

Friday
Mar312017

ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER - The French Press

"With their debut 2015 EP, Talk Tight, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever proved to be one of those special bands that arrives seemingly out of nowhere with a fully realized aesthetic. No tentative baby steps or half-formed experiments for this lot; Talk Tight exuded confidence and purpose, yielding five propulsive, jangly pop gems that felt instantly familiar. And its appeal was cross-generational. If you were raised on ’80s college rock, you could revel in nostalgic nods to the Feelies, the Clean, the Go-Betweens, and countless other Velvets revisionists. Younger fans could hear the sort of band the Strokes might have turned into had they aged more gracefully, or imagine what Real Estate might sound like after downing a case of Red Bull.

It’s a trick that (the now abbreviated) Rolling Blackouts C.F. still pull off with great aplomb on follow-up EP The French Press. Its six songs shine just as bright as those on Talk Tight, but they cast longer, darker shadows. You can sense the subtle change in temperament within the first 30 seconds of “French Press,” where the band work a taut motorik build reminiscent of Broken Social Scene’s anxious anthem “Cause = Time.”..." Pitchfork

Friday
Mar312017

VARIOUS - Keb Darge & Cut Chemist Present The Dark Side

"Picking up where they left off on the 2007 compilation ‘Lost & Found – Rockabilly & Jump Blues‘, Keb Darge & Cut Chemist join forces once again, this time to explore the Dark Side of 1960s Garage music. While Rockabilly could be defined as a DIY emulation of the music of Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and others by young American artists, Garage was heavily influenced by British bands of the day like the Beatles, Kinks & Rolling Stones. Simple drum kits, guitars and the occasional organ keep the sound honest and raw, retaining a palpable sense of excitement even to this day. With a multitude of bands springing up all over the USA, many of these wonderful records were released in tiny numbers, making certain titles almost impossible to find.

Keb Darge’s love affair with this intriguing genre happened almost by accident, while on the hunt for obscure Northern Soul records. “DJ Shadow told me I would like Garage years ago, but I didn’t listen.” Hearing a few records he liked and being assured by collectors that they were classified as ‘Garage’ got him hooked, so for the last years he’s been digging obsessively for the stuff. Knowing Cut Chemist was a collector, he suggested they collaborate on a compilation, and ‘The Dark Side‘ was born. 30 obscure records, some of which change hands for frightening amounts of money, all with wonderful stories attached as told in Keb’s & Cut Chemist‘s encyclopedic and entertaining liner notes." - BBE 

Friday
Mar172017

THE CREATION - Action Painting

"The Creation were a go. A dynamic band with an equally engaging image, they would burn brightly for less than two years, yet would leave an indelible mark upon music history. With producer du jour Shel Talmy at the helm (The Who, Kinks, Easybeats, Cat Stevens, et al) the Creation went on an incredible two year tear of singles, including “Making Time,” “How Does It Feel To Feel,” “Tom Tom,” and “If I Stay Too Long.” By 1968 it was over. Eddie Phillips’ trademark guitar bowing would be nicked by Jimmy Page and Boney M would cheese-up “Painter Man.” 


Over the nearly five decades since, the Creation has seen a tremendous resurgence in interest. First it was the Jam flossing “Making Time” on the inner sleeve of All Mod Cons. A few years later Alan McGee formed the band Biff Bang Pow and his Creation record label. By the turn of the century a new generation had discovered the band via a strategic placement in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. 

Presented here for the first time are the complete Creation studio recordings. All 42 tracks have been remastered from the original tapes by Shel Talmy, and given fresh stereo mixes where previously unavailable. New essays by Dean Rudland and Alec Palao tell the band’s story and dive into their complete studio sessions. Scores of previously unpublished photographs adorn the accompanying 80 page hard bound book. We’ve rounded the whole package out with four tracks by pre-Creation freakbeat quartet the Mark Four, making Action Painting the definitive collection of this legendary UK band." - Numero

Tuesday
Mar142017

RICHARD LAVIOLETTE - Taking The Long Way Home

"If you’re looking for some music to soothe the soul, look no further than Taking the Long Way Home, the gentle, rollicking new album from Guelph singer-songwriter Richard Laviolette.

Listening to this album is like looking at a collection of time-worn photos from Laviolette’s life, from treasured memories of his childhood home (“Grey Rain”) to tributes to the strong women in his family ("My Grandma's More Punk (Than Most Punks I Know)") to contemplating his own mortality ("Someone to Tell My Story When I'm Gone"). On Taking the Long Way Home, Laviolette presents us with songs that are heart-warming and comforting, but also accompanied by lyrics that are full of raw honesty and wisdom. It’s classic country music full of nostalgia about growing up and ruminations on growing old." - CBC Music

Tuesday
Mar142017

HOLLY MACVE - Golden Eagle

"It’s hard to believe Holly Macve’s Golden Eagle is a debut album. Originally from Galway, Ireland, the 21-year-old singer songwriter exudes the confidence and control you’d expect from a veteran performer.

Holly’s achy inflections evoke country-western styles, a Patsy-Cline-like delivery of heartbreak and longing. Golden Eagle combines haunting imagery with vulnerable contemplation and a retrospective eye. In “No One Has The Answers”, divine and personal uncertainty are set against blue skies and a summer by the sea. The speaker’s desire to understand the world merges with a yearning to escape from it: “I worked by day and by night I drank and danced until my mind was blank/And when the morning came to me, I’d only ever do the same.” Throughout the record, Holly explores the beauty in the detritus, loneliness standing alongside dreamy images of blood-red fields, moonlit lakes, and train-ride fantasies to far-off places..." - Spill Magazine

Tuesday
Mar142017

FRANCOIS COUTURIER & TARKOVSKY QUARTET - Nuit Blanche

"...Impeccably sequenced as usual, Nuit Blanche demonstrates continued growth for Couturier and Tarkovsky Quartet. The music may be dissonant and hard-edged, as it is on the appropriately titled "Vertigo" or similarly dark-hued but more spacious "Traum V" (another spontaneous creation which immediately follows); it might be more direct and immediate in its thematics, as is the pianist's Zen-like title track; or it may employ simple but harmonically oblique arpeggios to support a pointillistic saxophone solo, with Lechner using the body of her cello as a spare percussion instrument, as takes place on Couturier's "Soleil sous la pluie." 

No matter what direction Tarkovsky Quartet takes, the music of Nuit Blanche is largely more suggestive than it is explicit. A finely hued combination of melody and texture, scripted form and unfettered free play, and a distinctive group sound that has nevertheless expanded, album after album, as the quartet has continued to embed more and more touchstones in its music, Nuit Blanche is this exceptional chamber group's finest album to date...and with the trilogy now a quartet, the hopes that Couturier will continue his winning streak with more cinematically inspired work with this wonderful ensemble." - All About Jazz